Raising Readers and Finding the Right Curriculum

With every year we homeschool, I’m continually reminded of how incredibly different each child learns. I have so. much. respect. for teachers who have the brave and unprecedented task of teaching a classroom full of kindergarteners and first graders how to read.

My firstborn was a rule follower through and through. He still navigates most tasks in this way: give me book and a list of rules, and I will get it done. Widdling. Piano. Baseball. Clearly stated expectations that produce a clearly explained result is his jam. Which made teaching him how to read relatively uneventful. Boring, but uneventful.

My second born :) is not. He is artistic and creative. Picture smart. Would rather spend his time inventing and doodling than putting sounds together in an appropriate order to create a word. This has made reading lessons incredibly challenging and sometimes frustrating. But we pushed through, finally threw out How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and went straight to sight words and Bob Books. It worked, but I wouldn’t say it was one of our most beloved subjects tackled together.

Then there is number three who is begging to be included in all things school, desperately wants to read and write, but has a very limited attention span when it comes to structured lessons. However!

I recently got my hands on a new [to me] curriculum that has far exceeded my expectations and blown wind in my sails as I suit up to teach another child to read (it’s no joke, mamas - am I right?!). ABC See, Hear Do is the most multi-faceted reading program I’ve gotten my hands on and it is a real joy to incorporate into our school day. Starting with book one, each lesson and group of letter sounds comes with hand motions and adorably illustrated pictures to help remember each sound. There are also flashcard downloads that accompany each book. What surprised me is that after a mere 4 minutes working on our first 4 letter cards + sounds, my preschooler was able to put the sounds together for the list words. It really is remarkable! Ok, also a surprise, my son wants to keep going and going and going even after the lessons are wrapped up for the day. So many wins all around. And also, I am not sure there are many things cuter than little kid voices, putting new sounds together, using hand motions for each of those sounds :) That might actually be my favorite part and we may or may not have a few videos of a certain little boy reading while using said hand motions.

I was recently chatting with a mom who had reached a point of incredible frustration over reading lessons. She said, “But we have to at least finish the book… we can’t get this far and not finish the curriculum.” And to that, mama’s, I say: YES. YOU. CAN. If it isn’t working, if it’s not enjoyable, if it is just a pain in your rear end…get rid of it and move along. Find something that fits for you and your child - and don’t worry about finishing a book for the sake of finishing a book. If you’re looking to switch it up, reach out to Stephanie over at ABC See, Hear, Do. Peruse her various levels and read a little more about why she created this curriculum. I think you’ll be delighted with what you find!

*this post is in collaboration with ABC See, Hear, Do.